15.7 C
Byron Shire
May 7, 2021

Ballina hotel units stay tourist only

Latest News

From go to whoa – Norco Primex expo covers it all

Norco and Primex are bringing a three-day sustainable farming and primary industry expo to you.

Other News

On-farm restaurant’s sustainable vision

Frida’s Field is an on-farm restaurant based in Nashua, just ten minutes from Bangalow. Hosting three long lunches per...

Lismore Council set to increase fees, cut costs in a bid to balance budget

Lismore City Council is set to increase fees and charges and cut spending in an attempt to overcome a $19.5m operating deficit.

Local kite surfer smashes long distance world record

It was a cold, windy night on the rugged NSW south coast and Brian Kiss von Soly was wrapped up in a silver emergency blanket like a human burrito. 

Cartoon of the week – 5 May, 2021

Letters to the editor We love to receive letters, but not every letter will be published; the publication of letters...

Search for a home

Jules Claydon, Ocean Shores I helped a friend move to a new rental property last week, relieved that a stressful...

From go to whoa – Norco Primex expo covers it all

Norco and Primex are bringing a three-day sustainable farming and primary industry expo to you.

Luis Feliu

The luxury Ramada Hotel in downtown Ballina will remain part of the town’s tourist accommodation mix after local councillors rejected a bid to turn two of its penthouses into permanent residences.

Planners had recommended conditional approval for the change of use of two of the lots of four units on the top floor to long-term residential but councillors voted 5–3 to refuse it.

The staff report said the plan did not comply with Ballina Shire Council’s development control plans or residential flats code in terms of lighting, car parking and fire escapes, as well as objectives of other plans in removing tourist accommodation from the available pool.

The upmarket units, staff said, accounted for a total of 1,600 visitor nights last year but considered the loss would have a minimal impact on the local economy

Staff said they feared it could also set a precedent for other unit owners wanting to do the same, which could jeopardise the hotel’s current use, but that overall it would add to the diversity and mixed development of the town centre.

A spokesman for the business that operates the hotel, Ballina Booking Service, told media this week that approval would set a precedent for other units and was the ‘thin edge of the wedge’ that would affect the town’s tourism industry.

Cr Sue Meehan said she was ‘shocked’ to see the plan was recommended for approval and it was ‘not Council’s job to address individuals’ financial issues’ and the unit owners had taken the risk of running the units as holiday letting.

Cr Meehan said the building was not designed for permanent accommodation but as a hotel.

‘This offers us the chance to be a destination; we have lots of top-end homes in the shire but not top-end accommodation. A change from tourism to residential is definitely not in the public interest,’ she said.

Cr Peter Moore said, ‘we should not hang our hats on two penthouses’ or the ‘dazzle dollars’ to base the shire’s tourism success on.

Cr Robyn Hordern said the loss of the prestige units would ‘greatly impact on the local tourism industry and the town does not need another residential complex on the riverfront,’ especially one that would create a ‘conflict cancer’.

Cr Hordern said that in 2010, Council voted against turning 94 of the hotel’s 115 units into permanent residential use and the Land and Environment Court upheld that, at a cost to council of $400,000, and she believed the court decision should ‘stand for the whole building’.

Cr Keith Johnson said the plan to turn the two large units into permanent accommodation met policy ‘sufficiently to warrant approval’ and would not create a precedent because they were the only ones of that size in that locality.

Crs Alan Brown, Moore and Johnson were in the minority by voting to approve the plan, while mayor Phil Silver and Cr Sharon Cadwallader abstained from the debate and voting because of non-pecuniary conflicts of interest.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Greater Sydney goes into COVID related lockdown

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has just announced that greater Sydney area will go into lockdown until next Monday.

Board defends its management of Mullum Rural Co-op

The issue of potential fraud and financial mismanagement was a key part of the response from Mullumbimby Rural Co-op board, and Chair Ross Tucker,...

An operetta and children’s theatre for NORPA

NOPRA has announced recipients of the theatre company’s two artist residencies.

Dam doesn’t give a damn about koalas

The proposed Dunoon Dam is still a possibility, though it has been voted against twice by the members of Rous County Council. Now information has emerged which presents another reason to shut down the threat of the dam once and for all.